We must begin a different conversation about getting old.
The word “old” is associated with words like elderly, frail, over-the-hill, and decrepit – all incorrect terms for people who are still leading full and meaningful lives. Ask a millennial if they think their 55 year-old parents are “old”. Now ask the same 55 year-old if they see themselves that way. See the difference?
For over a decade, aging industry “experts” have focused on the transition of 77 million “boomers” as they go through the retirement age, from the perspective of what it means for them and society. They have been tracking them since 1955, when they were expected to only live for roughly 48 years; today their life expectancy has nearly doubled to the mid 80’s.
As life expectancy changed, the lifestyle expectations of people 50 and over should have changed too: but they didn’t. These ‘experts’ continued to lump everyone over the age of 50 with much older people who are ‘retiring’ from work or life, creating one giant “aged” group. However, this age group is full of diverse people with different needs who are NOT retiring from work or much less from life’s wonders.
They are staying in the workforce longer, starting new careers, becoming entrepreneurs, going back to school, traveling and doing so much more. These “mature” adults have much more in common with younger people than they do with people decades older. We often hear that 50 is the new 30, or that 60 is the new 40, so why are “experts” still lumping people under the same category (of 50 and older) if they all feel different? Misclassifying today’s 55 year olds is a disservice to older and younger generations who look at their parents as role models for what’s possible.
Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg is 84 years old and she does 20 push ups a day and 30 second planks.
Earl Fultz started cHarissa (Moroccan spice company) at the age of 92.
Ruth Bader Ginsberg and Earl Fultz have more in common with their younger peers than people their own age.
It is time to stop lumping people 50 and older into one group. In our next article, we will propose a psycho-social development timeline that’s conducive to growth at all ages. How are you slaying aging stereotypes? Who are some of the people you look up to? Become a free member and join our community conversations to share your ideas with others!
Remember: Take charge and live better to 100+!